Four items from the famed Stack’s Family Library now call the American Numismatic Association’s Dwight N. Manley Library home. Purchased from George Frederick Kolbe’s January auction in New York City, the ANA’s new American numismatic literature rarities include a large paper copy of the first work devoted exclusively to American coins and a complete set of the 19th-century numismatic journal Numisma.
The Stack’s Family Library was assembled over seven decades by the New York numismatic firm founded by brothers Morton and Joseph Stack and carried on by their children. For more than 50 years, the library’s American portion resided in antique bookcases lining two walls of Harvey Stack’s office.
Covering many aspects of numismatics and replete with rarities, the library’s sale attracted bidders from around the world. The 400-lot sale marked only the second time a single-day numismatic literature auction grossed more than $1 million.
The ANA library won four lots in the sale, which were purchased using general funds from the annual operating budget. All will be housed in the Frank J. Katen Rare Book Room, which is environmentally controlled to keep items in pristine condition.
Following are descriptions of each of the items purchased at the auction:
John H. Hickcox’s 1858 work, An Historical Account of American Coinage, was the first to attempt a comprehensive history of U.S. coinage and features five plates showing American colonial coins. The ANA’s copy is one of five issued in a large format; 200 were printed in small size.
Numisma was published by editor and cataloger Ed Frossard. The first nine volumes were published bi-monthly but the final volume was issued over a five-year period. This periodic schedule along with printing on inferior-quality paper may be a reason fewer than a dozen sets are currently known to be extant. The ANA’s copy includes all 59 issues but is missing a four-page supplement issued to accompany the January 1884 issue.
Historical Sketches of the Paper Currency of the American Colonies, Prior to the Adoption of the Federal Constitution and Historical Sketches of American Paper Currency, written by Henry Philips Jr. in 1865 and 1866, respectively, are bound into one volume. The first volume consists of monographs on the colonial paper money of Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Virginia and Vermont, along with a reprint of Elisha Potter’s work on Rhode Island. The second volume compresses Phillips’ work on continental paper money.
The catalog of Thomas Elder’s 21st sale, conducted Oct. 5-7, 1908, documents the rare coins collection of James B. Wilson. It was a notable sale of American coins, especially important for large cents. The ANA has 236 of the 294 Elder catalog dates in its collection.
To find out more about these books, visit www.money.org and click on “Library” under the “Explore the World of Money” scroll-down menu.
In the coming years, the ANA says its library staff hopes to digitize these materials, making them available on the online catalog.